Growing up in a household with a German professor, Kate Mulhern developed an early interested in foreign languages that has intensified throughout every step of her academic and professional career.
In high school, English was Kate's favorite subject. "It was different from every other class," she explains, "we discussed real things."
She specifically remembers Ms. Van Pilsum's English class. It was this class that "taught [her] literature was important," and it was the first time someone told her, "You can write."
A creative and driven student, Kate was active in theater at MHS, in addition to excelling in academics. While receiving encouragement from her English teachers, she was also recognized as a talented student in Spanish and Japanese. In fact, she was one of only five Minnetonka students to sign up for a Japanese class at MHS her junior year. As a senior she graduated valedictorian in the class of 2000.
After high school Kate attended Clarke College and continued to study languages, specifically Japanese and Spanish. In college she was drawn to education and the opportunity to work with language more directly. She found that opportunity in the US Peace Corps.
Two months after graduating from college (where she was once again valedictorian) she left on-assignment to Cape Verde, West Africa with the intention of doing something "exceptionally different".
And different it was. Kate spent two years in Africa, where she taught English as a second language to more than 300 high school students. She developed curriculum, a summer art camp for elementary-aged children and impacted the lives of hundreds of African students and families through her work.
Now back in Minnesota, Kate and her husband Tony, also a class of 2000 alum, work and live locally. Kate works for the Hennepin County Library Systems and continues to find ways to explore her passion, like learning another new language– Arabic. A strong advocate for education, Kate is grateful for her teachers at Minnetonka and the preparation she received to do whatever she dreamed.